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An interview with the chairman of Metropolitan Group

The Metropolitan group has been empowering businesses and institutions in Sri Lanka for almost six decades, providing products and services to hundreds of entities including local blue-chip companies, state institutions and overseas clients. Having pioneered office automation in 1958 and since diversified and transformed into one of the most trusted conglomerates in Sri Lanka, the Metropolitan Group now consists of solely-owned subsidiaries specialising in workplace productivity solutions, information technology, integrated communications, imaging systems, standby energy solutions, air conditioning and precision AC solutions.

Counting almost six decades of technological expertise, the Metropolitan Group is today a leading supplier of technology infrastructure to the government and large corporate, and designs and supplies engineering products and services to the construction industry; critical communications to the defense sector; and production and imaging services for the printing technology sector.

"We are very proud of how far we have come from our humble beginnings. The Group has expanded and specialised in key technology areas that have accelerated the technology growth of the country," says J. J. Ambani, Chairman of the Metropolitan Group.

The Group has constantly updated its product and service offering to bring in the best of technology to meet the challenging needs of Sri Lankan enterprises. Today, the company has a workforce of over 900 employees and a presence in all major cities, with branch offices for both sales and after-sales support. It employs an exceptionally high number of engineers and technical staff and has a solid track record of integrating the best-of-breed technology to come up with the most practical, innovative and relevant solutions.

Representing a prestigious brand portfolio from around the world including Canon, Johnsons Controls York, Mitel, Shanghai Mitsubishi, Acer and Pramac, Metropolitan has been at the forefront of technology innovations in Sri Lanka, introducing the latest in every sphere of engineering, imaging, communications and workplace solutions.

"Our people and our brands are the strengths to which we attribute our success. Metropolitan is privileged to be the local representative for prestigious global brands and we are equally proud to have a dedicated and skilled team supporting our clients across the island," adds Ambani.

Over the years, Metropolitan has evolved into a key contender in the large scale projects arena. In recent years, the company has handled the supply and management of the SMART card driving license project, the Colombo city surveillance project, the Bandaranaike International Airport infrastructure installation project, defense sector critical communication projects, leisure sector total automation solutions projects, large scale chiller installations, the Ministry of Industry's large factory electricity consumption audits and many other telecommunication infrastructure projects.

"Shifting from a workplace solutions company to an engineering and communications technology company, Metropolitan is now ranked as a leader in these sectors in Sri Lanka," he says, adding that, "the group has undertaken projects in both the government and private sector locally, as well as in overseas markets".

"Metropolitan has successfully implemented many technology projects overseas including projects in the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh," Ambani further informs.

The company established its first fully-owned overseas subsidiary, Metro Dynamics, in 2002 in Singapore, to cater to the growing demand in logistic services, and is now poised to become a regional player in the communications, information technology and imaging and printing space.

Metropolitan Holdings has reached every segment of society and every corner of Sri Lanka through an expansive branch network, dealer network and island-wide service centres, ensuring that all customers are served with urgency and care, regardless of the size or the location of their businesses.

As a respected corporate citizen, the Group is conscious of its environmental responsibilities and its award-winning Eco Office CSR programme has been put in place to ensure that workplace equipment is recycled and residues managed in an environmentally-friendly manner.

In addition to large scale corporate and government ventures, Metropolitan also has a significant presence in the consumer retail segment through its retail stores, the 'M Centers', and its 'Image Square' showrooms, which specialise in professional photography equipment from Canon. Further expanding the group's activities, Metropolitan has also ventured into the education sector with its Metro Academy, which provides professional learning and training to school leavers and mid career professionals.

The interviewee, J. J. Ambani, is Chairman of the Metropolitan Group.